The image that often springs to mind of a ghost producer is one of an introverted person spending their days in their bedroom or home studio making a specific type of music for other people to release under their names. However, the knowledge required to be a successful ghost producer is not limited to mere knowledge of a specific type of electronic music.
An often overlooked skill ghost producers need to develop is versatility. Confining music making efforts to a specific genre is likely to lead to extended periods without work because you never know what the next client will have in mind. Good ghost producers need to be comfortable creating songs in a range of EDM sub-genres.
Underpinning the ability to create good electronic music is a solid understanding and foundation in music theory. Ghost producers, and any other producer for that matter, need to know about harmony and form, music notation, musical instruments and their ranges. Mixing ability is, of course, imperative, as well as sound design and sample selection. Good ghost producers can listen to a reference track and create something new and unique that captures the vibe of the reference tune.
Self-discipline is also vital for ghost producers. Clients typically require quick turnaround times in what is a fast-paced industry. Keeping up with competitors and releasing fresh hits is part and parcel of being a successful modern DJ/producer. Since ghost producers don’t need to turn up to an office every day, tremendous self-discipline is needed to ensure work gets done on time. Ghost producers must be self-starters who are comfortable working independently without motivation from a boss.
There is no space for resentment for ghost producers. If a ghost producer creates a track he’s really proud of, he must be comfortable letting go of what he’s created and letting someone else take the credit. Such a willingness to work in the background and create music without attachments to finished products is a vital personality skill required of ghost producers.
Finally, ghost producers should possess both marketing knowledge and industry knowledge. Industry knowledge means knowing about the major labels, agencies, and expectations while marketing knowledge is an understanding of specific audiences and their taste in various genres; basically, know what music is likely to sell.
Ghost production is a valuable and viable service that allows DJs to avail of a talented pool of producers and release tracks that align with their brand. Furthermore, ghost production enables aspiring producers to receive money for doing what they love, which is creating music. The range of knowledge required to be good at ghost production is quite wide, and it incorporates aspects such as versatility, strong mixing ability, a solid background in music theory, marketing knowledge, and strong self-discipline.